ChemEd X contributors and staff members are continually coming across items of interest that they feel others may wish to know about. Picks include, but need not be limited to, books, magazines, journals, articles, apps—most anything that has a link to it can qualify.
Many Picks can be purchased from Amazon. Using the Amazon links on those pages help to support ChemEd X.
If the name "Simon Winchester" sounds familiar, it is probably because of his recent bestseller, "The Professor and the Madman", the history of how the Oxford English Dictionary was originally compiled. It is supposed to be very good, but I haven't had a chance to read it myself yet.
Backyard Ballistics: Build Potato Cannons, Paper Match Rockets, Cincinnati Fire Kites, Tennis Ball Mortars, and More Dynamite Devices
This book is not politically correct, in an era in which school science experiments have been tamed to the point that there is little possibility that the teacher will kill or maim him/herself.
Those of us who were fans of the old "Amateur Scientist" column of Scientific American will enjoy this collection of projects that look to be fun to build and to play with. These are all things that the author has invented or adapted for a Saturday Science Club for kids near his home in Guildford, UK.
Barry Commoner argues that the central "dogma" of genetic engineering, that DNA alone controls protein synthesis in a one-to-one correspondence between genes and proteins, is highly questionable.
I first wrote about the controversial thesis of this book back in January of 2000, when my "Pick" was an article about David Hockney by Lawrence Wechler in the New Yorker. With the publication of this very attractive, large-format book, you can look for yourself at the evidence that he argues shows that many of the great master painters secretly used optical devices to help produce their work.
Ice cores, bored through thousands of feet of stable glacial ice in Greenland, have proved to be our best record of global climate over more than a hundred thousand years.
Sue Hubbell has written beautifully about her experiences as a beekeeper in rural Missouri. For example, I recommend her "Broadsides from the Other Orders and "A Country Year".
One of the goals of a course I teach in our Honors College is to provide non-science majors with the tools they need to differentiate authentic science from material that has merely been provided a "scientific" dressing. Physicist Robert Ehrlich has provided nine case studies that are ideal for this purpose. Do more guns in the hands of citizens decrease crime? Is AIDS really caused by HIV?
No, phosphorus did not jump to a new position in the periodic table - it is still element number 15.
Malcolm Gladwell has done it again. This article is very much in the spirit of the books by Henry Petroski, who has written about the engineering hidden in ordinary objects such as paperclips and pencils.